Behind the Scenes
Yes. It is true. I have been coming to the Field Museum since I was born. Did I know that there were scientists constantly doing research and huge collections outside of the public realm? To keep it simple...I had no idea whatsoever. And it's not just me; my friends have been astonished by my expeditions, not realizing the Field Museum was a little more than just a museum. As a part of being an intern, we've been swept up and taken to lower levels (the ground level is not the end) and the upper levels (ever wonder what was behind those high cloudy windows you can see from the main hall when you look up?). It seems like there are more people researching than there are exhibitions.
Birds were first on our agenda, but unluckily for me I forgot my camera. I couldn't believe that I could hold and touch the beautiful creatures in those never-ending cabinets. Let's be honest here, Planet Earth is one amazing show, and the bird of paradise with the blue, shiny chest who makes the clicking noises is pretty well known. I've touched one. That was another thing, I thought the museum and lab would be much more strict than it is. I think everyone was surprised when Dr. Shannon Hackett told us we could feel free to hold the birds-these gorgeous birds, in the remarkable collections. I think I was still used to being just another girl walking around a museum...where the "no touching" sign is a common sight. We weren't the general public anymore, and we weren't dangerously clumsy kids; we could be trusted with such delicate creatures.
Fishes was not too many days away- now that was an exciting experience. When you see cabinet after cabinet of fish, reptiles, mammals, etc. sitting in a preserved state or within alcohol filled jars, no one can help but be curious. Of course, we started with fish (again, being able to touch the teeth on a great white jaw!) but then we slowly found our way towards reptiles. As scared as I am of snakes and spiders (that's another story) I took picture after picture of curled up snakes and iguanas and komodo dragons (!!!!!) in jars - the dragon being in a case with a glass top. While we were down there, we figured we might as well take advantage of the opportunity and find those mammals.
Monkeys in jars, with their insides cut out...enthralling...but super creepy. While I took plenty of photos at the time, I had no choice but to delete them after a few days. Seeing their faces was just too human. Seeing a baby leopard, polar bear, and hedgehog was just too cute...regardless of the fact that they were long dead.
So long story short the moral of the story is: there's a lot more to the Field Museum than most people realize.